Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news A handy guide to vampires. How thrift stores were born. Queer digging in the archives. Taking photographs of the dead. Healthy hogs for a healthy nation. The gay architects of classic rock. Not having sex in the Victorian era. Children in burns prevention campaigns…. Read more →

To “Serve this Long Term at Home”: Robert Buffum, Mental Illness, and the Prison Trap

Just over a year after having the third-ever Medal of Honor pinned on his uniform for surviving months of retributive torture, Lieutenant Robert Buffum languished as a convicted criminal in the state penitentiary in Frankfort, Kentucky. Once a daring soldier trusted by his commanders to carry out behind-the-lines missions, Buffum had fallen prey to a… Read more →

Illustration of three medical students in a boarding house room

Sisterhood Subpoenaed: Abortion on Trial at an 1892 Women’s Medical College

Courtroom dramas are a television staple. If the Good Wife isn’t your cup of tea, there is Law and Order, How to Get Away with Murder, Suits, or Judge Judy. These programs invite the viewer into the courtroom, to envisage themselves as the advocate, the judge, the jury, or the defendant. However, such role-play is… Read more →

More Recent Articles

Photo of a large group of protesters with signs like: hate is not a family value

Not Going Back: Queer American Families and the Value Voters Summit

On October 12, 2017, the day after National Coming Out Day, I received an email from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) informing me that President Donald Trump was scheduled to appear at the Value Voters Summit, a venue that combines virulently anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim “values.” Like I have almost every day since last November’s… Read more →

Mothers’ Natures: Sex, Love, and Degeneration in the Nineteenth-Century United States

Every so often, some viral article or other will declare that science “proves” or “confirms” that intelligence is inherited from mothers. (I know, because my own mother will promptly share it on Facebook.) Swiftly, of course, revisionary articles will appear correcting or debunking this claim, chastising armchair geneticists for their overly-simplistic understandings of the X-chromosome…. Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news The price of fashion in 1910. A reconstructed Auschwitz letter. Mary Webster survives a hanging. Who owns Marsha P. Johnson’s story? Cholera remedies in the mid-19th century. Century-old vial sheds light on first vaccine. The women artists on the London Underground. Tracing the life… Read more →

Sketch of two women sitting at a table. One woman leans forward in her chair.

The Enigmatic Spinster

Judging from the number of books, blogs, news articles and interviews focused on the lives of single women, it seems that the “spinster” is making a resurgence. For example, Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation and Kate Bolick’s Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own received… Read more →

A grey building in the background, flanked by two red-brick buildings, and a street lined by concrete posts.

The Second Sentence: AIDS in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison

In January 1986, Irish current affairs program Today Tonight reported on a spate of deaths and attempted suicides in Dublin’s Mountjoy prison. These, the reporter intoned, “reveal something seriously wrong in the Irish prison system. A system long-known to be overstretched, antiquated and inadequate has been pushed into the front line of modern Irish society’s… Read more →